ISM's Research and Reports
ISM's Research and Reports

Develop strategies based on sound research and analysis germane to private schools.

ISM’s continuous research is at the core of our theory, workshops, and consultations, and is the driving force behind Ideas & Perspectives and our other publications. We analyze our own survey and report information, and routinely peruse statistics and data developed by the government and other educational organizations.

ISM's goal is to provide various resources of relevance to private schools, sharing information and advice to help them prosper. 


See ISM's latest reports, white papers, and articles.

Effects of Tuition Increases on Enrollment Demand

Whitepaper ● March 3, 2017

Independent School Management (ISM), Measuring Success, and the National Business Officers Association (NBOA) have harnessed the power of collaboration to renew a study and methodology originally undertaken in 2006 by Measuring Success and repeated in 2011 by Measuring Success with ISM. These studies suggested that there was no relationship between tuition increases and enrollment; this has been a help to many schools. Some schools, however, were concerned that the results of these studies did not examine the nuanced measures of enrollment, did not sufficiently reflect their individual circumstances, or that, after five years since the last study, the market had changed. To continue to address this important question, the same three leading organizations have worked together to expand the number and type of schools participating in a research-based study that once again addresses the important question, “Is there a relationship between enrollment in an independent school and changes in tuition?”

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Full Steam Ahead Part 3: What Does ‘Sustainability’ Really Mean?

Whitepaper ● September 12, 2014

In two previous white papers, ISM discussed whether the recent recession and subsequent recovery has impacted private-independent school enrollments. Despite data from ISM's recent parent reenrollment surveys and three tuition elasticity studies (all suggesting that the enrollment intentions of parents remains strong and that tuition and enrollment are not correlated), many school leaders continue to question independent school sustainability. This report focuses on five sustainability concerns that ISM most frequently hears and addresses each in turn. The conclusion is that hysteria over independent school sustainability is not warranted.

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Full Steam Ahead: Part 2: Cutting Edge Research and Opinion for Excellent Independent Schools

Whitepaper ● September 3, 2010

As a follow-up to ISM’s “Full Steam Ahead” report, we partnered with Measuring Success to conduct a price elasticity study with 140 private schools across the United States to determine if there truly is a “tipping point” when setting tuition. The following report provides the results of that study, with the key finding that there is no mathematical relationship between tuition change and enrollment.

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Full Steam Ahead: Cutting Edge Research and Opinion for Excellent Independent Schools

Whitepaper ● September 1, 2010

In the Spring 2010 edition of Independent School, NAIS, writes persuasively and interestingly in the article, “A Game-Changing Model for Financially Sustainable Schools.” ISM has written the following commentary concerning the issue of sustainability and the points that NAIS makes. ISM concurs that there is a “game changer” in private education and that this game changer will be evidenced in the finances of schools—but the finances of schools are the wrong focus for understanding what the change is.

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